Date Published: 12 September 2005

WHO announce new global partnership to take immediate action to help women and children survive

Health News from around the world.

For the first time, the world's leading maternal, newborn and child health professionals have formally joined forces to step up efforts to achieve the international development goals for child and maternal health. The new partnership marks a milestone in an intensive and growing global focus on the health of women and children.

While some countries have made progress, at current rates the world is not on track to achieve the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for maternal and child health. Each year, more than half a million women die in pregnancy or childbirth and nearly 11 million young children die, most of preventable causes. Today, to address this health crisis, countries and organizations active in maternal, newborn and child health have launched The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health. "If the world is to meet the goals of reducing maternal and under-five mortality by 2015, only a focused, coordinated effort can bring women, newborns and children the health care they need during pregnancy, delivery, the early weeks of life and in childhood. By working with countries to increase access to existing health care solutions, this Partnership has the potential to transform millions of lives and make critical progress," said Dr LEE Jong-wook, Director-General of the World Health Organization.

The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health will begin immediately to work with national leaders on delivering the much-advocated "continuum of care" approach to countries. In recent publications including the WHO's World Health Report 2005, The Lancet Child Survival and Neonatal Series, and the UN Millennium Project's "Who's Got the Power?", leading global health experts agree that progress begins when a women's health needs are addressed at the same time as her child's.

At the partnership launch event today in New York, Alpha Oumar Konaré, Chairperson, Commission of the African Union said,

" Greater political leadership coupled with increased financial resources are needed at international and national levels if we are going to meet these goals. Investment in maternal, newborn and child health is not only a priority for saving lives, but it is also critical to advancing other goals related to human welfare, equity, and poverty reduction."

Leaders from countries, donor agencies, UN organizations, professional associations, academic institutions, and non-governmental organizations have joined the partnership.* It is a merger of three existing collaborations focused on maternal, newborn and child health and will be hosted by the World Health Organization in Geneva.

Source(s): World Health Organization (WHO)

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